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'Covid-19: Not reached community spread level’

Jun 14 (TM) A surge of Covid-19 cases will endure for another couple of weeks and the downward trend can be expected subsequently, Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath said. He shared the importance of the current lockdown and explained the community transmission of the virus. Q: What is the current Covid-19 situation in SL? A: The total number of cases have already passed 200,000 mark. more..

Mirage of Rajapaksa Magic being exposed!

Jun 14 (CT) Another Annus Horribilis indeed! Sri Lanka appeared to be continuing on its disastrous path on all fronts, this year too, (thanks) to its disoriented, beleaguered leadership as it faces further domestic woes and foreign policy hurdles. Yes! the people are now increasingly getting disgusted and angered, and now baying for the blood of yet another govt that had failed them. However, as it is often said, the lesson of history is that no one learns. more..

Inland oil leak nearly made capital run dry

Jun 14 (ST) With a container ship leaking dangerous chemicals on fire at sea for over 12 nerve-racking days despite the best efforts of the fire-fighting crew to extinguish its wind swept flames, a major disaster on land broke out last Friday night when oil stored in the tanks at the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery started to flow into the inland waters of the River Kelani, raising grave fears that the capital and its environs will be rendered dry should the water supply be contaminated as a result. more..

SJB frontliners claim fictional reasons prompted confidence vote on Sajith’s...

Jun 13 (ST) From a private hospital in a crowded part of the city, Sajith Premadasa, leader of the country’s main opposition SJB, then recuperating from an attack of COVID-19, had to fight another threat – the fear of losing his leadership. He has overcome the deadly virus attack but not the other. Other than SMS messages to thank those who had wished him a speedy recovery, he was telephoning stalwarts in his party. more..

Ruling party kindles resignation drama over fuel price hike

Jun 13 (EN) SL’s ruling party in a dramatic move called for the resignation of Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila a day after fuel prices were raised ending an election promise to fix oil prices, in bid to bolster the cash-strapped state energy firm. Minister Gammanpila said the on Friday the price hike was decided by a cabinet subcommittee as the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) had 330 billion rupees of accumulated losses and over US$ 3 bil in foreign exchange which was in short supply. more..

Gas companies also seek price hike, CoL likely to soar

Jun 13 (ST) While the cost of living is likely to soar in the wake of yesterday’s fuel price hikes, a govt-appointed ministerial committee is due to study a proposal to increase gas prices. Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena said that the committee would meet tomorrow to discuss a request made by two companies – Litro Gas & Laugfs — seeking permission to increase gas prices. He said the companies had requested that the price of a cylinder of domestic gas be increased by Rs 700, more..

Luxury vehicle import plan for fieldwork suspended – not cancelled

Jun 13 (ST) The decision to buy a large number of tax-free SUVs using money from the Treasury was held back or postponed at the suggestion of PM Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Cabinet, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. “The subject initially came up when there was no COVID-19. It was decided to bring down vehicles instead of issuing permits which are usually sold. They were to be for various government institutions to be used as more..

Sri Lanka yet to learn of delivery date: US’s Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

Jun 13 (TM) Sri Lanka is yet to be informed of a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine delivery date from the US despite the country’s name having been included in the list of countries to be receiving vaccines from the US, according to the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC). SPC General Manager Dinusha Dassanayake said that although Sri Lanka has been included in the list of countries to receive Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses from the US, they have yet to confirm any delivery dates. more..

Vaccinations: Eminent group follows-up with Prez., PM and ministers

Jun 13 (Island) The group of eminent academics, professionals and civic activists, led by former Colombo Uni Vice Chancellor, Prof. Savitri Gunasekera, who wrote to the Director General of Health earlier this month together with some others have now written a follow-up letter to Prez, PM, Health Minister and state ministers of health. We reproduce its text below: “We are writing to you as a follow up to our letter to the Director General Health, which appeared in Sunday Island of June 6. more..

Sharing fake news on social media: Govt warns of re-enacting criminal defamation

Jun 13 (TM) By sharing fake news on social media networks, some people are pushing the country towards re-enacting the criminal defamation law which was repealed in 2002, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. He said this on Friday while responding to The Sunday Morning’s query on the conflict which would arise with the exercise of the freedom of expression when arrests are made for the purported cognisable offence of sharing more..

Don’t take seafood off the menu: Round Island urges concerned consumers

Jun 13 (Island) While SL grapples with the after effects of the MV X-Press Pearl marine disaster off the South and West coasts of the island, the Ministry of Fisheries has assured citizens that in suspending fishing activities from the affected coasts, all seafood that makes its way to the markets has officially been declared safe for consumption. In light of recent events, and in order to reel in greater confidence towards the fisheries industry as a whole, Round Island – consumer face of Oceanpick ltd more..

Four new state-owned businesses to be listed in the CSE

Jun 13 (ST) Four new state-owned business enterprises (SOBEs) are to be added to the existing 52 strategically important SOEs as limited liability companies, and these four will be listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange soon. These enterprises are now functioning under the Ministries of Finance, Urban Development and Technology with the Secretary to the Treasury being the sole shareholder. The govt is in the process of fully operationalising these four new SOEs more..

Excise Department grapples with billions of rupees in lost tax revenue

Jun 13 (Island) The continued prohibition on liquor sales due to existing travel restrictions in the country has dealt a crippling blow to the Excise Department with the loss of tax revenue exceeding a whopping Rs. 10 billion (Rs. 10,000 million) so far. “We have been deprived of around Rs. 600 million per day in excise duties”, says M. J. Gunasiri, Commissioner-General of Excise. Since the sale of alcohol was banned with more..

Apparel TUs to enter MOU with JAAF

Jun 13 (ST) Apparel industry worker-related issues are to be discussed between the factory owners and trade unions once they reach agreement through an MOU in the wake of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. “We have agreed to discuss a possibility of entering a MOU to resolve the disputes through social dialogue,” FTZ and General Services Trade Union General Secretary Anton Marcus said. Draft of the MOU is yet to be considered by the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF). more..

Germany deports 23 SL asylum seekers

Jun 13 (SO) A group of 23 SL Tamils were deported from a detention centre in Pforzheim, Germany on Wednesday amid noisy protests from asylum seekers and rights activists. A large number of German Police personnel from Pforzheim surrounded the detention centre and took into custody the 23 SL Tamils to be deported to Colombo. When the police operation was taking place, a large number of SL Tamils living in various parts of Germany gathered outside more..

Deposits under SDA exceed $ 400 m

Jun 13 (TM) The special deposit account (SDA), which was announced during the peak of a potential foreign exchange crisis amidst the Covid-19 outbreak last year, has significantly raised more than $ 400 million in deposits as of last week. A senior official from the CB, stated that the SDA is performing exceptionally well since its implementation last year. “In April, SDA was extended by another year more..

Aftermath of X-Press Pearl

Jun 13 (Island) The recovery of the voyage data recorder (VDR) of the dangerous cargo laden container ship, X-Press Pearl, the burning and subsequent sinking of which caused this country an unprecedented and unimaginable environmental disaster may help ongoing investigations to establish where culpability for alleged negligence or irresponsibility lie. VDR is the equivalent on a ship of black box voice & data recorder in the cockpit of an aircraft vital for investigation of a plane crash. more..

Fraud on a power: Exercised in vaccinations management?

Jun 13 (Island) The doctrine Fraud on a Power (also known as improper purpose doctrine) was one of the key fundamental building blocks in framing the potential charges in a high profile suspected corruption and money laundering case investigated under the Yahapalanaya regime. This investigation was assisted, by a set of independent professionals acting as authorized independent volunteers. It appears that the prosecutors of AG’s department make limited use of these concepts. more..

Ceylon Tea on the brink of losing global appeal

Jun 13 (ST) Ceylon Tea synonymous with quality and uniqueness of its origins could lose its place in the global market as smallholder growers who contribute 70% of production face a crisis due to the new fertiliaer policy. Ceylon Tea will be just a name in the history books since within the next three months there will be a yield and quality drop on the estates of the smallholder growers, Tea Smallholders Association President more..

ComBank Card holders to enjoy discounts of 50% and other benefits on Uber Eats

Jun 13 (CB) A discount of 50% and other exciting offers await Commercial Bank Credit Card holders ordering food and essential items via the Uber Eats app, following a partnership between the Bank and the food delivery platform. The Uber Eats promotion will apply to the Bank’s customers paying for their purchases through their registered Credit Cards via the Uber Eats App throughout the month of June. While customers who newly register on the app can enjoy a 50% discount subject to more..

Pay disputes aren’t new but are they reasonable?

Jun 13 (Island) Pay disputes go back to the times of Bandula Warnapura, our first Test captain. But he was an absolute beauty. He is more of a working-class hero. There was a bit of Ian Chappell in him. He fought for his players. Not for seniority payment or anything. SLC at times have cut down pay for players significantly just to rein them in. There have been SL teams in the past that have refused to sign contracts, but gone on tour, won the championship and then demanded the pound of flesh, more..

Grey areas haunt new contracts as players and SLC still confused over final outcome

Jun 13 (ST) If anyone thinks the current pay dispute between cricketers and their employer, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), is over…it’s not. The parties reached a truce a day ahead of the team’s scheduled departure to England last Tuesday on the premise it would be resolved when the team returns next month. 38 players, including 14 who have been overlooked for any sort of a contract, are protesting over the new performance-based more..

Vehicles for MPs driving the people up the wall

Jun 13 (ST) Govt seems to be rather coy, shying away from a rather unpleasant act of its which it knows only too well is not viewed with favour by the general public. It has opened Letters of Credit (LCs) to import brand new vehicles for MPs, and those in Govt. With an impending backlash from an angry populace, the Govt seems to have suspended rather than cancelled the order. All this under the cover of the free falling COVID pandemic situation, while millions of ordinary people are undergoing more..

An officer and a gentleman to the damsel in distress

Jun 13 (ST) My dear Sarath, I had to write to you this week because you are making headlines in these difficult days of lockdown or ‘travel restrictions’ as those in high places like to call it these days. This is in your role as the minister in charge of the Police – though some will say that hasn’t really been your role recently. As a politician, you must be loving every bit of the publicity you are getting. Who wouldn’t, when everyone is talking about you, making you a household name in the country more..

Himasha loses appeal as athletes eye Olympic spots

Jun 13 (ST) An appeal made to Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) through the National Sports Council (NSC) by sprinter Himasha Eshan, to include him for the upcoming Kazakhstan Open Athletics Championship to be held on June 19 and 20, had been turned down. The sprinter had met the Chairman of NSC, Mahela Jayawardene, to intervene on behalf of him but the appeal was turned by the SLA given his mediocre performances. more..

The string theory of international cricket

Jun 13 (ST) Shikhar Dhawan will lead a second string Indian team to play SL in a six-match limited over series next month. The series, which includes three ODIs and as many T20Is, will be played at the newly refurbished R Premadasa Int'l Stadium starting July 13. The Indian Test team is currently in England preparing for the finals of the World Test Championship against NZ and therefore regulars like Indian skipper Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Jasprir Bumrah and Rishabh Pant more..

The writing was on the wall for SL swimmer

Jun 13 (SO) Aniqah Gaffoor, a prophetic 11-year old girl now age 17 is on the verge on realizing her childhood dream of swimming at the Tokyo Olympics. When she was 11 years old Aniqah Gaffoor had posted Olympics 2020 Tokyo on the wall of her room. She had begun swimming just a couple of years back and loved the rush of adrenaline in the pool. It was enough to spark a dream of going for the Tokyo Games but even in her wildest imagination she wouldn’t have more..

Ranil’s impending Parliament entry stirs Opposition

Jun 13 (CT) With the UNP Working Committee passing a resolution that UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe should swear in as the Party’s National List MP, he was flooded with phone calls inquiring whether he would be actually accepting the offer. Opposition MPs, diplomats, friends, and the media all were curious whether he would be sworn in or not on 8 June when Parliament is convened. more..

Leveraging innovation for sustainable development in Sri Lanka

Jun 13 (TM) Innovation is an essential driver of economic progress. The 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development goes beyond economic growth and requires innovation for sustainability. Process innovation to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation is of a great importance to achieve sustainable development. Any modification to the existing manufacturing process, which reduces the emission of greenhouse gases and use of non-renewable or toxic materials more..

Rebel cricketers realise greatness comes with time not money

Jun 13 (SO) SL’s once adored cricketers left on a tour of England claiming to play for national pride but in reality becoming a permitted band of 24 rebels to whom pay was more important than coming to grips with studying their on-field opponents only to realise that a noose hung over them should they abort. Tour and the stance of the players only brought to disrepute both the establishment and the team and bore a direct insult on their predecessors who 25 years ago lifted a World Cup literally without more..

Hiru TV Balaya

Fertilizer Saga in SL: A considered opinion

Jun 13 (Island) Why use fertiliser on crops? Fertilisers are used for two purposes. One purpose is to provide essential plant nutrients that are required for crops to produce an economically-important product (i.e. food for humans, feed for animals, a variety of industrial products, etc.). Just as people require food, crops require nutrients for producing what is expected from them. When a crop is harvested and its yield taken away, a large amount of nutrients is taken out of system more..

Leadership crisis rocks SJB

Jun 13 (SO) UNP Chairman Vajira Abeywardana said that the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) which was mired in a leadership crisis was on the verge of disintegration. He said the leadership crisis within the SJB has paved the way for the emergence of leaders such as Champika Ranawaka and several others as future leaders adding that this could result in the SJB splitting into several factions. Abeywardana said it was a political tragedy that those who boasted of capturing the UNP more..

'Govt yet to decide on alternative to Astrazeneca second dose'

Jun 13 (SO) State Minister Dr. Sudharshani Fernandopulle explains the issues faced by the state Covid-19 vaccination drive and how the Govt plans to overcome them. Q: Some of the countries have recommended the use of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as the second dose for those who got the first shot of Astrazeneca considering the risk of blood clots associated with the latter. Any plans here to follow this model? more..

True & genuine development should happens at the level of people

Jun 13 (CT) I was happy to read a few weeks ago the Cardinal’s brief critique of the current development strategy of the Gotabaya govt. One of his observations was that the sale of State properties and the common resources of the people is not development. But, this has indeed been the strategy implemented in the country for the last 4 decades creating a situation where the rich become richer and the poor poorer. Thus, as a result the social inequalities in Sri Lanka have widened. more..

Headache season

Jun 13 (TM) For a govt limping from one crisis to another, the prospect of even a brief respite seems distant, given the frequency with which the issues keep piling up. In just the past week, it has had to deal with an unmitigated maritime disaster, natural disasters that left 21 dead, a vaccination campaign struggling to cope with demand with over half a million people still waiting on a second jab, a looming agriculture crisis owing to the overnight ban on chemical fertiliser that could potentially more..